The Knockout was initiated by six men affiliated with the team they formed, Koorie United: Bob Smith, Bob Morgan, Bill Kennedy, Danny Rose, Victor Wright and the late George Jackson.
The Knockout was intended to provide a stage for the many and very talented Aboriginal footballers playing at the time who, for reasons of racism and lack of country-based recruitment were overlooked by the talent scouts. While the football was a big part of the Knockout, there were other important priorities that sustained the gatherings, as Morgan says,
The Knockout was never simply about football, it was about family, it was about community, it was getting people to come together and enjoy and celebrate things, rather than win the competition football.
For an event that started out in 1971 where they hand-drew A4 cardboard signs that were sticky-taped on poles around Redfern, the nomination fee was $5.00 and the winner ‘took all’ of the $35 prize money! The annual NSW Rugby League Knockout carnival has grown over its 45-year history to become one of the largest gatherings of Aboriginal people and communities from all over NSW.